Finland Travel Overview

Finland Travel Overview

GENERAL

Official name of the state

Republic of Finland.

Capital

Helsinki.

Geography

As a country starting with F defined by Countryaah, Finland, the seventh largest country in Europe, borders Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north and the Russian Federation to the east. The Gulf of Bothnia (west coast of Finland) and the Gulf of Finland (south coast) belong to the Baltic Sea. There are around 80,000 islands off the coast (most of them on the south and south-west coast), inland there are 188,000 lakes with a further 98,000 islands, the largest lake district in Europe.

10% of the land consists of water, 69% are forest areas and 8% are used for agriculture. Pine, fir and birch forests predominate in the south and south-west of the country. In the far north, in Lapland, the trees are sparser and dwarf birches predominate. In the center of the country you will find mountainous regions, here is the 1328 m high Haltiatunturi – the highest mountain in Finland.

Government

Republic since 1919. Constitution from 1919, last amendment 1999. Unicameral parliament (Eduskunta / Riksdag) with 200 members. Direct election of the head of state every 6 years. Independent since 1917 (separation from Russia). Finland is a member of the EU.

Head of state

Sauli Niinistö, since March 2012.

Head of government

Juha Sipilä, since May 2015.

Electricity

230 V, 50 Hz. No adapter required.

Time zone

Eastern European Time: CET +3 (CET +4 from March 26 to October 29, 2017)

Finland Travel Overview

LANGUAGE

Overview

The official languages are Finnish (91.2%), Swedish (5.5%) and in some parts of northern Finland also Sami. A minority speak Russian. English and German are widely spoken.

SHOP

Overview

Jewelry, Ryijy hand-woven carpets, furniture, glass, porcelain, ceramics and fabrics are just some of the handicrafts Finland is known for. The shopping center in the basement of Helsinki Central Station is open Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-10 p.m. (Sundays and public holidays 12 p.m.-10 p.m.). In the port of Katajanokka you can buy glassware, porcelain, natural wood articles and fabrics. Duty-free shopping: Travelers who do not live in Scandinavia or EU countries can claim VAT back when they leave the country. The shops issue special vouchers that can be redeemed at the following customs offices: Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Mariehamn, Vaasa and Rovaniemi airports; on the ferries of the Silja Line, Viking Line, Vaasaferries and Polferriesand at the border crossings to Sweden, Norway and Russia.

Shop opening times:
Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat 9 a.m.-3 p.m. From June to August most shops are open Mon-Fri 9 am-9pm, Sat 9 am-6pm and also on Sundays.

CULINARY

ACCOMMODATION

Hotels

Most hotels and motels are modernly equipped, all usually have saunas and many also have a swimming pool. Room prices vary from region to region, hotels are the most expensive in Helsinki and Lapland. The service is usually included in the hotel bill (15%). Advance booking is recommended in summer. The tourist office can provide detailed information. With Finncheque-Hotel vouchers, which are available from certain travel agencies outside Finland, can be used to travel from hotel to hotel during the summer (May 12th – September 30th). They are particularly recommended for those traveling by car and can be redeemed in over 100 hotels. There are three different categories (see below). Only the first night can be booked in advance, the next hotel room can be booked free of charge in the hotel of the previous day. Less comprehensive hotel check systems from other providers offer similar discounts. Numerous hotels offer discounts for weekend guests or groups. Details from the Tourist Office or the Association of Finnish Hotels and Restaurants, Merimiehenkatu 29, SF-00150 Helsinki. Tel: (09) 622 02 00. For hotel reservations in Helsinki and the surrounding area: Helsinki Expert,Lönnrotinkatu 7 B, SF-00120 Helsinki. Tel: (09) 22 88 12 00. (Internet: www.helsinkiexpert.fi).

Children:
There is a surcharge for extra beds. Young people under the age of 15 who do not need an extra bed stay for free.

Summer hotels:
During the university summer holidays (June 1 – Aug 31), rooms in student residences are rented to vacationers. These modern and clean quarters are called »summer hotels«. They are cheaper than hotels and are available in all major cities.

Categories:
The standard is generally high, the categories are based on the Finncheque system. Category I (high prices) and Category IIoffer accommodation in double rooms with breakfast (mostly buffet) and room service. In category III there is a packed meal available that you can put together yourself. Information from: Finnish Hotel and Restaurant Association, Merimiehenkatu 29, SF-00150 Helsinki. Tel: (09) 622 02 00.

Camping

There are around 350 campsites, around 200 of which are affiliated with the Finnish Tourism Association (blue and white sign with a tent in a C). The best time for a camping holiday is between May / June and August / September, depending on whether you are in the south or north of the country. Many campsites also rent huts for 2-6 people with cooking facilities and refrigerators, some with heating, washing facilities and toilet. Campsites are divided into five categories. The prices depend on the respective category and are calculated per family. Cooking and washing facilities are also included in the price. There are around 300 campsites with electrical power available for caravans. Top camping spotsare leisure centers and amusement parks for the whole family with attractive children’s entertainment programs for the high season in July.

Camping outside of campsites is only permitted with special permission from the property owner. Holders of an international camping card (FICC) do not need a Finnish camping card. A list of all campsites is available in bookstores and R-kiosks in Finland. The Camping & Hostels brochure can be requested free of charge from the Finnish National Tourist Board. The Finnish Campers Association can be reached at the following address: Tulppatie 14, SF-00880 Helsinki. Tel: (09) 47 74 07 40. (Internet: www.camping.fi)

Other accommodation options

There are around 105 youth hostels (Finnhostels). Some of them are only open in summer. Approx. 50 youth hostels are available all year round. Some of the hostels serve as student dormitories during the semester. There are four categories depending on the equipment. In addition to dormitories, there are also »family rooms« (2-4 beds). Meals are generally not served, but refreshments and coffee are available, and some hostels also have cooking facilities. There is no age limit. Bed linen can be borrowed. Discounts for holders of the international youth hostel card. The Camping & Hostels brochure with a list of all Finnhostels is available free of charge from the Finnish National Tourist Board. Further information from the Finnish Youth Hostel Association:Suomen Retkeily Magagärgestö (SRM RY), Yrjönkatu 38B-15, SF-00100 Helsinki. Tel: (09) 565 71 50. (Internet: www.srmnet.org)
Rooms with breakfast, half board or full board are available on over 500 farms. Most of the farms are near lakes or rivers; the guest rooms are often simple but clean, and a family bathroom is available. Full board, half board or bed and breakfast are possible. Some farms offer guest houses or holiday apartments with refrigerators and cooking facilities for self-catering.
Full board consists of two main meals, coffee twice a day and a sauna twice a week; Children receive a 50-75% discount. Most of the farms are in central and eastern Finland, some are also on the coast and on the Åland Islands. Categories: 1-5 stars.

CULTURE

Religion

82.5% Lutherans, 1.1% Russian Orthodox, other Christian denominations (1.1%) as well as Jewish and Muslim minorities.

Social rules of conduct

Manners: Shake hands to greet you. The forms of politeness hardly differ from those in the rest of Europe. On formal occasions, guests should wait for the host’s kippis or skol (“cheers”) before drinking. Casual clothing is appropriate in most cases.

Tip: The hotel bill already includes 15% service charge. Restaurants and bars charge 14% service charge on weekdays and 15% on weekends and public holidays. A tip of 1-2 € is appropriate for hotel porters and cloakroom storage. Taxi drivers, hairdressers and toilet staff do not expect tips.

Smoking: There is an absolute ban on smoking in restaurants. Smoking is only permitted on terraces and in rooms in which no food and drinks are served. Smoking is also prohibited on public transport and in the vicinity of minors.

CLIMATE

Best travel time

Moderate climate, but strong temperature fluctuations. Warm in summer; mild weather in spring and autumn. Very cold winter (November – mid-March). In the north, snowfall from mid-October to mid-May, during the short arctic summer the sun shines for up to 16 hours a day. Heavy snowfall in winter. July is the warmest month in Helsinki with an average of 17.7 ° C. In the north it stays dark for two months in winter. The best travel time for summer vacationers is in the months of June and July and winter sports enthusiasts will find the best conditions for their favorite winter sports in Finland from February to mid-April.

COUNTRY DATA

Area code +358 Area (square km) 338 145 Population 5476922 Population density (per square km) 16 Population in 2015 Member of the EU Yes main emergency number 112

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